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Keywords:

  • promotora;
  • forest workers;
  • workplace health and safety;
  • community capacity;
  • program evaluation;
  • community health worker;
  • lay health educator;
  • social ecological framework

Background

Forest work, an occupation with some of the highest injury and illness rates, is conducted primarily by Latino immigrant workers. This study evaluates a pilot program where promotoras (lay community health educators) provided occupational health and safety trainings for Latino forest workers.

Methods

Evaluation methods included a focus group, post-tests, and qualitative feedback.

Results

Community capacity to address working conditions increased through (i) increased leadership and community access to information and resources; and (ii) increased worker awareness of workplace health and safety rights and resources. Fear of retaliation remains a barrier to workers taking action; nevertheless, the promotoras supported several workers in addressing-specific workplace issues.

Conclusions

For working conditions to significantly improve, major structural influences need to be addressed. A long-term, organizationally supported promotora program can play a key role in linking and supporting change at the individual, interpersonal and community levels, contributing to and supporting structural change. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:788–799, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.